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The Porndemic: How to Overcome Porn Addiction

Sep 11, 2020

10:09:2020

Of all the desires that the internet fuels, the desire for synthetic sex is, by far, the most lucrative, sought after, and abused desire of all. Presently, pornography, unfortunately, is the king of the internet.

It is a controversial subject, but its impact is far-reaching, changing behaviours, and harming those who consume it and those with whom they share close relationships.

Moulana Yusuf Ravat and Moulana Yusuf Osman were interviewed by our host Moulana Habib Bobat in a short interview dedicated to tackling pornography addiction. In the interview, they explored the danger of pornography, how to protect ourselves from falling in and how to get out of it.

Many would ask why the need to bring the subject up, particularly on a public platform? Although it is mostly a taboo subject, Moulana Yusuf Ravat highlighted how pornography has evolved. Interestingly, he noted that every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is released.

Unfortunately, the business of pornography has over the years evolved onto a multibillion-dollar industry with tentacles that reach easily via the internet, television and other platforms into our homes and intruding into our lives. Our parents never had to deal with high-speed internet and easy access to porn. The easy access to porn has also brought with it the issue of addiction.

Reflecting on how people view pornography, Moulana Yusuf Osman, added that the scourge of addiction to porn has hit home as statistics reveal that South Africa is included in the top 20 countries, globally, in terms of viewership of pornography. The topic can no longer be swept under the carpet or treated as taboo, especially as nudity is pervasive in our society.

Pornography is no longer a man’s domain. Moulana Ravat shared how recent research has shown that 30% of those falling prey to pornography are female and this has increased rapidly recently. Young people, specifically between the ages of 12 and 18, begin to view pornographic material and sadly this may then be carried into their adult lives, impacting on relationships, negatively.

The pandemic and the associated lockdown has allowed the pornography industry to increase their membership as many people are spending more time on the internet as students and parents are working from home, whilst social distancing.

Porn has never been as hardcore as it is today with children exposed to pornography by the age of 11, and many of them are hooked on it by the time they are 12 years old. Pornography may provide instant gratification, but it brings both physical and mental harms.

Repeatedly giving in to the urge to watch pornography leads to a lack of ability to delay gratification. The brain becomes more and more focused on the things you find pleasurable and the discipline of delayed gratification falls to the wayside. It tempts to move the rabbit-hole into more unacceptable sexual behaviours as well as growing the addiction. Moulana Yusuf Osman, further added that constant exposure to pornography leads to marital issues such as a lack of respect for one’s spouse, trust issues and a host of other behaviours outside of marriage as well.

Pornography programs us to lower our standards sexually. This may encourage, in some cases, to build intimate and unhealthy relationships with people who are willing to have sex without any boundaries. In turn, stripping us of our discipline and morality.

According to Moulana Yusuf Ravat, for young people, pornography creates certain expectations of what sex looks like. The average teenager, consuming pornography, is getting his or her sex education from the videos he/she watches. And that’s not good, especially because porn sells a warped fantasy and exaggerated reality of what real sex is like.

Having created awareness and highlighted the harms of porn, Moulana Habib, brought about the subject of how to overcome the addiction or solutions for those who find themselves stuck on the web of pornography. Moulana Yusuf Ravat pointed out that the first thing we must realise is that Allah is merciful, and we, to gain His mercy, must strive to stop the bad habits we have formed. He emphasized that repentance is the start and thereafter, constant striving to please Allah and even when one fails, to strive harder. Importantly, having hope in your ability to overcome should be a constant – Shaytaan will always be making his presence felt but having hope in Allah’s guidance and in your ability to overcome must remain uppermost in your mind.

Moving away from the spiritual aspect, Moulana Yusuf Osman, to introspect and to discover and cut the pornography problem at its root, doing so by uncovering as to exactly what is triggering one to view such images and videos. If one identifies his or her triggers, then one would be able to create strategies that would empower them to avoid such acts. Is watching movies or social media a trigger which inspires you to watch pornography? Is loneliness or some common emotion triggering or urging you to watch pornography? Is it boredom, sadness, stress, anxiety, or loneliness?

Moulana Habib touched on the issue of “withdrawal symptoms, to which Moulana Yusuf Ravat responded by saying that one should have the intention to cleanse the heart to bring you closer to Allah, keep away from the triggers that take you away from the addiction. Reading about or listening to others who have succeeded in overcoming their addiction, can help one to relate and learn from. To totally avoid pornography consumption, one will need to keep him or herself busy with productive activities such as reading, exercise, sports, school, going to the mosque, chores, or errands.

Tackling the topic of “spicing things up” in a marriage, Moulana Yusuf Osman advice was to begin first with better communication and trust before moving on to becoming knowledgeable about what is permissible in Islam and then what the couple find mutually acceptable.  Moulana Ravat further advised that those who have found that the addiction has stopped him/her from fulfilling the rights of their spouse should make dua for Allah to forgive, to erase and remove the negative behaviour.

Moulana Yusuf Osman confronted the issue of parents dealing with a child who may be indulging in pornography. His advice was to ensure that you are approachable and involve yourself in the lives of the child, spend quality time with them. Parents should know who their children associate with, encourage them to keep good company. As difficult as it is to talk about sex, parents must prepare their children for the harsh realities they will face and if necessary, to get professional help if they feel overwhelmed.

Watch the interview here.

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